Michael D. Lumpkin
|Michael D. Lumpkin|
|Under Secretary of Defense for Policy|
December 2, 2013 – June 24, 2014
|Preceded by||James N. Miller|
|Succeeded by||Christine E. Wormuth|
October 14, 1964 |
Oceanside, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of California, San Diego
Naval Postgraduate School
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1986–2007|
|Unit||U.S. Navy SEALs|
Michael D. Lumpkin (born October 14, 1964) is a former American Naval Officer and businessman who served as the Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center at the U.S. Department of State until January 2017. From 2013 until 2016, he was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. During that time, he also served as the acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the third-highest civilian job at the Department of Defense (DoD).
Lumpkin is considered an experienced crisis manager and turnaround expert. Prior to his current role overhauling U.S. government efforts to disrupt extremist propaganda, he led the DoD response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, efforts to locate and return Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, and the reorganization of the military’s broken POW/MIA program.
As a Navy SEAL, Lumpkin served nine operational tours, one Commanding a Team, in counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics operations around the world, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines, and Central and South America.
Early life and education
Lumpkin was born in Oceanside, California to his parents, David and Jeri Lumpkin. They raised Lumpkin and his brother in nearby in Vista, California. His father served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and his brother currently serves as a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S Air Force.
Lumpkin graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 1986, and subsequently earned his Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. His thesis analyzed incidents of violence at sea between 1975 and 1995.
After graduating from college, Lumpkin joined the U.S. Navy. Before becoming a Navy SEAL, Lumpkin did an abbreviated tour on the USS Vancouver, where he qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer. He began his career as a SEAL taking part in counter-narcotics operations in Latin America, mainly operated out of Panama. During this time, he held every leadership position from Platoon Commander to Commanding Officer, and he was formally recognized by the Armed Forces Preparedness Association for his Outstanding Contributions to National Security.
Immediately after the attacks of September 11, 2001, he was assigned as the Officer in Charge for the training and readiness of all West Coast SEAL Teams. The Teams he trained took part in the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq while sustaining zero casualties.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Lumpkin served as Deputy Commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force for the Arabian Peninsula. He then served as the Deputy Commander of all Special Operations in Iraq. In that role, he oversaw the daily operations of more than 2,000 Special Operators, and activities at six High Value Target interrogation facilities.
Lumpkin returned from Iraq for his final military assignment, working as a liaison to the U.S. Congress on policy and funding issues to support U.S. Special Operations Forces. He is recognized by the Department of Defense as a specialist in both the Western Hemisphere and Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict.
Lumpkin retired from the Navy in 2007, returned home to Jamul, California, and decided to run for Congress. He ran as a Democrat in California’s strongly Republican 52nd Congressional District, and one of his chief campaign issues was bringing a responsible end to the war in Iraq.
In 2010, Lumpkin began serving as both Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). During that time, Secretary Eric Shinseki put Lumpkin in charge of implementing Family Caregiver legislation, passed in 2010, to better support families caring for post-9/11 Veterans.
In April 2011, Lumpkin moved over to the Pentagon, where he was sworn in as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC).
He then served as the Special Assistant to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. During that time, Secretary Hagel assigned Lumpkin with overseeing the reorganization of the then-broken POW/MIA accounting program. In the fall of 2013, President Obama nominated Lumpkin to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for SO/LIC. His nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 2, 2013.
As the Assistant Secretary for SO/LIC, he was responsible for oversight of all special operations and low-intensity conflict activities, including counterterrorism; direct action; special reconnaissance; embassy security, peacekeeping operations, and counter proliferation of WMD.
While he was the Assistant Secretary, Lumpkin served as the Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. He was also asked to lead DoD’s response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and efforts to return Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban.
In January 2016, President Obama asked Lumpkin to overhaul the U.S. government’s efforts to counter the propaganda of violent extremist organizations abroad such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. He was appointed the Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center, an interagency organization that leverages the private sector and new data analytics tools to disrupt extremist violent propaganda.
Private sector experience
At a couple of points during his public service tenure, Lumpkin left government to work in the private sector. After his 2008 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives, Lumpkin took a job as Director of Business Development for ATI.
In 2012, Lumpkin was hired to be the CEO at Industrial Security Alliance Partners, a San Diego-based firm that connects defense technology companies with venture capital and new market development.
In addition to his over 40 awards and citations as a naval officer, Lumpkin has on two occasions been awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, DoD's highest civilian medal. He has also twice been awarded the Secretary of Defense Award for Outstanding Public Service, as well as the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence.
- Archibold, Randal C. (9 December 2008). "California". New York Times. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/01/251066.htm "A New Center for Global Engagement", from the Office of the State Department Spokesperson
- "Hot seat: Mike Lumpkin". San Diego Union Tribune. July 13, 2008.
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